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First university degree for Māori immersion teachers welcome

8th February 2012

For Immediate Release

First university degree for Māori immersion teachers welcomed

The education sector union NZEI Te Riu Roa says the country’s first university degree for teachers in Māori immersion schools is welcome acknowledgement of the importance and status of teaching te reo.

Te Aho Tatairangi has been launched by Massey University. It is a four year degree course which aims to supply 200 Māori immersion graduates by 2020.

NZEI Matua Takawaenga Laures Park says the degree course and qualification recognises that teaching in kura kaupapa Māori is a distinct area of skill and expertise.

“It broadens the options for people with an interest in Māori immersion teaching by giving them an opportunity to gain a specialist qualification which they didn’t have before”.

Last year a Waitangi Tribunal report warned that te reo Māori was reaching crisis point and urgent change was needed to save it from extinction.

“This is exactly the sort of concrete initiative that can make a real difference to keeping te reo alive and boosting the number of Maori immersion kaiako. It also recognises that having a teaching workforce with an in-depth knowledge of te reo and tikanga Māori has a big impact on Māori student motivation and success,” says Laures Park.

She says the specialist degree course also supports the need to provide high quality teacher training at a time when the government is backing fast-track six week teacher training programmes for graduates.

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